RAJAR Q2 2012: TalkSport among the fallers in tough national market

TalkSport lost nearly a tenth of its listeners in the second quarter of 2012 despite broadcasting from Euro 2012 in what was a tricky set of Rajar figures for many of the national commercial networks and stations.

TalkSport: hosts Andy Gray and Richard Keys
TalkSport: hosts Andy Gray and Richard Keys

There was good news for some stations and Absolute Radio and Planet Rock both grew their audience reach year on year, by 7% and 10.6% respectively, while Global Radio's Choice and Bauer Media’s Heat also added listeners.

According to figures from audience research provider Rajar, alongside the declines at TalkSport listeners were lost at Bauer Media’s Magic network and digital station The Hits and at Global Radio’s Classic FM, Heart network and XFM.

In a quarter where TalkSport made up for the end of the Premier League with commentary from each game at Euro 2012 the station had an average weekly reach of 2.9 million, a decrease of 9.1% year on year and 9.7% quarter on quarter.

TalkSport listeners tuned in for a total of 18.8 million listening hours a week (the metric used by media agencies when trading radio) down 7.5% year on year and 11.5% quarter on quarter.

Conversely, Absolute Radio’s core FM station, which broadcast live commentary from the England games in Euro 2012, increased its weekly reach in the second quarter to 1.8 million, up 7.0% year on year and 9.4% quarter on quarter.

However, at an average of 13.1 million hours a week the FM Absolute Radio station’s listening hours were down 8.1% year on year although this was an increase of 25.2% period on period.

Absolute Radio's network, which includes Absolute Classic Rock and Absolute 80s, increased its weekly reach to 3.2 million, up 9.7% year on year and 6.7% quarter on quarter and the highest reach the business has achieved in 12 years.

Planet Rock, whose ad sales are now handled by Jazz FM, had an average weekly reach of 948,000 in the second quarter, up 10.6% year on year and 10.1% period on period.

Listening hours reached 6.6 million, up 13.9% year on year but down 4.9% when compared to Q1 2012.

Bauer Radio's Heat, which is increasingly integrated with the brand’s magazine and website (and now TV channel), had an average weekly reach of 713,000 listeners in Q2 2012, up 6.4% year on year, while its listening hours grew 32.8% year on year to 3.1 million.

Choice, Global Radio's urban music station, had an average weekly reach of 738,000 listeners, up 12.8% year on year but down 6.3% quarter on quarter, and 3.5 million listening hours, up 8.7% year on year but down 10.1% quarter on quarter.

The Magic network had a weekly reach of 3.7 million, down 9.0% year on year but up 2.5% quarter on quarter, and total listening hours of 23.3 million, down 13.7% year on year and 5.6% period on period.

Smooth Radio, which is in the process of being bought by Global Radio, had an average weekly reach of 3.3 million listeners a week in Q2 2012, up 1.6% year on year but down 1.7% quarter on quarter, and an average of 25.5 million listening hours, up 5.0% year on year and 1.6% quarter on quarter.

Classic FM, the biggest national commercial station, had an average weekly reach of 5.5 million, down 4.4% year on year but up 0.7% period on period, and an average of 34.9 million listening hours a week, down 8.9% compared to Q2 2011 and down 6.7% on the previous period.

The Heart network had an average weekly reach of 7.4 million, down 4.0% year on year, but there was better news over at its Global Radio sister network Capital, which had a weekly reach of 7.0 million, up 1.5% year on year.

Click here to see a table of the national results.

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